Monday, May 3, 2010

Understanding Adolescent Drug Addiction

Chicago Adolescent drug addiction has become more prevalent in today's culture than thirty years ago. Then alcohol and marijuana were the primary substances used by adolescents. In 2009 however, the prevalence of teen drug addiction has become alarming.

The number of adolescents undergoing Chicago drug addiction counselling has increased rapidly. Many centres have begun to accept patients younger than eighteen seeking help with addiction because the demand has become so great. However, adolescent drug abuse is a delicate subject as the psychology of teenagers is extremely complex and external factors are often influential in drug use in this age group.

Adolescence is not easy
Adolescence begins at approximately age 10 for girls and 12 for boys with the further development of their reproductive organs and sexual maturity. Hormones develop and behavioural changes begin to occur as well as physical changes. Individuals experiencing puberty and adolescence are going through one of the most difficult times of their lives. The physical and emotional changes play a large role in the confusion and the need for acceptance which adolescents feel at this time.

Peer pressure is a big motivator behind the increased use of drugs and alcohol. Adolescents are experiencing a stage where they struggle to find their identity whilst emerging from the safety blanket of their parents. They are beginning their preparations for adult life and self-esteem can suffer in the confusion which adolescence brings.

Drugs and self-destructive behaviour
To a teenager, it seems that only their friends understand them. The need to be accepted can involve participating in the same behavior as their circle of friends, which can be experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and marijuana are commonly used by teenagers, as are 'party' drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy), Acid (LSD) and magic mushrooms. Harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, crack-cocaine and crystal methamphetamine are sometimes used by adolescents but less frequently. Solvents such as glue, paint thinners and aerosol gases are also a popular choice of drug for teens.

Professionals are generally hesitant to label a teenager as an addict for two reasons: Firstly, addiction is a disease - if a person is using drugs regularly, this does not mean that they are a drug addict. Secondly, teenagers are developing psychologically and it can be dangerous to diagnose someone as an addict before they are at least 20 years old.

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